Posted on Jul 22nd 2010 01:28 am
Tiger Flower Circle Sun
Ghostly International 2010
15 Tracks. 45mins21secs
Christopher Willits is, amongst other things, a guitarist, but listening to his records and how processed his sound can be, one would be forgiven for overlooking this fact. But Willits is much more than a musician; label owner of Overlap.org, software designer and audio visual artist amongst others, there is, it seems, very little he is not willing to take on. With twenty records released in twelve years, Willits has been rather productive. Beside his solo efforts (four in total), he has worked with a number of sound artists and musicians over the years, amongst others Taylor Deupree, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Oren Ambarchi or Shuttle 358, and has had music published on labels as diverse as Fällt, 12K, Room40, Plop or Mille Plateaux.
Returning to Ghostly International, four years on from Surf Boundaries, Willits’s latest is once again a kaleidoscopic collection of sun-drenched digitally enhanced guitar music which owes as much to the Beach Boys as it does to Aphex Twin as Willits explores a vast array of genres here, incorporating elements of surf music, intense electronic processing, psychedelic pop and ambient into his compositions. There is no boundary he is not ready to break through. This gives his music a great sense of freedom and tempers the experimental nature of his work by injecting a hefty dose of fun into it. To accentuate the genre-hoping impression, Willits keeps the majority of his compositions well under four minutes, at times barely pushing them any further than a few seconds. Arguably, this creates such a volume of information for the listener to process that it rapidly becomes impossible to take it all in at once.
Willits processes his soundscapes in a variety of ways here, from the finely detailed granularity of pieces such as Sunlight Is You or Subconscious Transmission and the hypnotic textures of Plant Body, You Are Always Surrounded By Stars, The Hands Connect To The Heart or The Heart Connects To The Head to the sweeping ethereal melodies of Green Faces, Intent-Evolve or album closer Flowers Into Stardust or the folk-infused Light Into Branches and the gritty and textured Branches Into Flowers, but all these actually find their rightful place into the overall tapestry that is Tiger Flower Circle Sun and each contribute to the album feeling extremely consistent. Willits’s vision is certainly complex and diverse, but he makes it extremely accessible by applying touches of experimentation rather than big sweeping statements.
If anything, Tiger Flower Circle Sun is even more eclectic and rich than Surf Boundaries, and here, Christopher Willits dares to push much deeper into abstract territories to create this rather impressive soundtrack.